It’s that time of year, time for swimming pools and barbeques, ice cream and outdoor concerts. At least two of those things (sorry, no swimming pools) will be coming soon to the Sonoma-Marin Fair, running at the fairgrounds from June 21-25.
According to Christy Gentry, Sonoma-Marin Fair publicist, the annual event’s line-up of musical acts is one of the most anticipated announcements of the year.
“The Sonoma-Marin Fair is well known for bringing wonderful entertainers to Petaluma,” says Gentry, “and we work hard to bring the genres and entertainers that are most desired by our community, and our Fair audiences.”
This year’s lineup brings Tower of Power, Jana Kramer, Loverboy and John Michael Montgomery to the fair’s grassy, open-air amphitheater, one band each night, Wednesday through Saturday. It all concludes on Sunday with Fiesta Latina 2017. Featured during that day-long, fair-closing extravaganza are the bands Grupo Brisas del Mar, Banda Toro, and Los Ángeles Negros.
Many factors come into play when picking bands to perform at the fair. According to Gentry, fair management works with a musical booking agency, but she allows that the choosing of music from year to year takes a whole team.
“It’s a group effort,” she says.
An important goal for that team is to end up with bands that represent an array of tastes and styles. At least one classic rock band has to be on the list, along with a country artist or two, and something the kids would like.
“The thing that the Fair looks for in entertainers,” she explains, “is cross-genre appeal. It is important that the Fair offer many options to our guests, just as we have a variety of food, carnival rides and free entertainment, we also ensure there is variety in our headline entertainers. We want our community to know that there is something for each of them at the Fair.”
Returning for the third year in a row, Tower of Power is scheduled to kick things off on Wednesday, June 21. A popular R&B group based in Oakland, Tower of Power has become something of a regular at the fair.
“Tower of Power has continually provided our Fair guests with wonderful entertainment and we enjoy having them at the Fair,” says Gentry. “They have a supportive fan-base here, we love having them, and they like playing in Petaluma. It’s a win-win.”
On Thursday night, country chanteuse Jana Kramer (“Why ya Wanna?”) brings her chart-topping songs to Petaluma. Kramer does a lot more than sing, however. She is known for her recurring role on the television series “One Tree Hill,” and she came in fourth place in 2016’s “Dancing with the Stars” competition on ABC.
One of the biggest bands set to appear this year is the eighties rock favorite, Loverboy, best known for the hit song, “Working for the Weekend.” They’ll play Friday night, June 23, followed the next evening by John Michael Montgomery, who’s had more than thirty singles on the Billboard country music charts, including several (“I Love the Way You Love Me,” “I Swear,” “Be My Baby Tonight,” “I Can Love You Like That,” and others) that made it to number one.
The bands and artists that play the fair are reportedly great to work with, according to Gentry, and not just in terms of honoring their contracts and putting on a great show.
Working for the Weekend
WHAT: Sonoma-Marin Fair Concert Lineup
WHERE: Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Drive.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 21, 8 p.m. – Tower of Power; Thursday, June 22, 8 p.m., Jana Kramer; Friday, June 23, 8 p.m., Loverboy; Saturday, June 24, 8 p.m., John Michael Montgomery; Sunday, June 25, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Fiesta Latina 2017, with Brisas del Mar, Banda Toro, and Los Ángeles Negros.
COST: All concerts are free with fair admission (Pre-Fair online $10-$15, at the gate $12-$18).